Babelcon 2008

Reported by Commander Ri'Par

July 18-20,2008 was the date and Baton Rouge,LA was the location of Babelcon 2008,the third installment of this con. In attendance was myself and B'ehrmaq of the IKV Bayou Serpent with a mundane guest,Salek of the IKV Melota,and Bar'tok of the IKV K'Vette. This was my second year to attend and it's gotten even bigger than last year but still hasn't lost the fan friendly atmosphere that most cons lack. It's a fan run con so there isn't any price gouging ($30 for 2 days). Guests this year were J.G. Hertzler,Suzie Plakson,Richard Hatch,and Bob May.

I was approached months ago by the con director asking for help in bringing J.G. to the con since they weren't sure they could afford it. In exchange for paying his appearance fee, we were promised that J.G. would be ours during the hours he wasn't working the con. They kept their word! With help from Salek of the IKV Melota and Bar'tok of the IKV K'Vette, the IKV Bayou Serpent raised the money and were given full access to J.G.

I arrived about 11:30 am on Friday and we were scheduled to pick J.G. up from the airport in New Orleans at 2:30ish. B'ehrmaq acquired a shuttle and along with a con rep, we proceeded to pick him up. South Louisiana has a lot of water. There is a bridge that spans about 20 miles over water with no exit ramps and we were unlucky enough to get stuck in traffic due to a wreck for about an hour so we were about 30 minutes late picking him up but he was in phone contact with the con rep so there was no damage done. The ride back took about an hour and 15 minutes in which J.G. asked questions about the area since he hadn't been there in over 30 years. He also started joking with the group as soon as he got into the van and his mouth opened.

Once at the con,we got him checked in and along with Bar'tok and one of his crewmen,we went to his room and I gave him a bottle of bloodwine that I had brewed. He poured us all drinks (including himself) and we nearly finished the bottle. He got a call from Robert O'Reilly who asked if we met him at the airport in uniform like we did for him last year. Since New Orleans airport security is much more strict than Baton Rouge we decided it wouldn't be a good idea. J.G. joking told O'Reilly "only the DEAD chancellor gets that kind of treatment!".We then took him out to dinner and to the "meet and greet" party from 8-10pm. Salek of the IKV Melota arrived at this point after an 8 hour drive from DFW. What a trooper to drive that far with no air conditioning in 95 degree heat and 80% humidity.

The other stars were all there for the meet and greet and it was Suzie Plakson that I was looking for. I have never met a Trek star that wasn't extremely friendly until I met Suzie. I had brought her a bottle of bloodwine as well but she wouldn't accept it by saying "I'm not a sci-fi fan". She also wouldn't let anyone take pictures or videotape her. She was even rude to Bob May who has to be one of the nicest people I've ever met.

The next day we got into uniform and I got my autographs out of the way. I now got a picture with Suzie only after buying something. I then proceeded to do what I do best...walk around and intimidate the feddies. There were a lot of people in costume and since it was also a fantasy con, the costumes included Trek,Star Wars,Battlestar,pirates,knights,and even Orion belly dancers. J.G. asked the belly dancers to do 2 songs before he went on for his Q & A and we escorted him to the stage. I use the word "escort" loosely. J.G.,B'ehrmaq,Salek and myself ran up the aisle screaming to the stage to the delight of the crowd.

The con broke for dinner and we took J.G. to Chili's down the road. We only had an hour before he had to be back to judge the costume contest and we were told there would be a 30 minute wait for a table. After a throwing his weight around a little,(not in a rude way)J.G. convinced the staff to pull another chair to a table for our 5 person group and we made it back in time for the Orion belly dancers who J.G. really wanted to see. There we sat with the Chancellor of the Klingon Empire,watching the green ladies gyrate. Once they were off the stage, a small child ran up to one of the girls that she knew and the dancer was hugging the child. J.G. saw his opening and ran up on his knees to get a hug of his own!

The costume contest was broken into 3 catagories,children,novice and professional. I came in 2nd place in the novice group,being beaten by a group dressed as characters from "Firefly" which just looked like normal clothes with a few patches sewn on to me. I was given a certificate signed by J.G.,Bob May,and Richard Hatch who were the judges and a headbutt from J.G. They had an auction for charity next with Bob May auctioning off several one of a kind items. B'ehrmaq was the proud winner of an autographed photo of Malcolm McDowell which he got for $80. With the majority of the activities done for day,we got out of uniform,showered,and met J.G. in the hotel bar where he bought us drinks and chatted about anything from Trek to body piercings. We closed the bar down,J.G. went to see a seminar on global warming,and Salek and I went to the room we were sharing to drink bloodwine til 2am.

Sunday morning I went down with a mundane friend to get the breakfast buffet and Bob May asked us to sit with him. He's a real character and loves to talk. Bob had ordered steak and eggs rather than the buffet and with the bad service it took a good 30 minutes to get his food. He didn't seem to notice and talked to us like long lost friends. Even when his food arrived the didn't eat much at all,instead talking about everything under the sun. He's really into the cons and especially the charity auction. They raised around $1,400. After breakfast we met back up with J.G. who brought back my now empty bloodwine bottle which he signed for free along with the full one that Suzie wouldn't accept. We got a few more pics out of uniform with him,Bob,and Richard Hatch before saying goodbye to Salek who had to head out early for his long drive home. Bar'tok of the IKV K'Vette was put in charge of taking J.G. back to the airport and after saying goodbye to all our other friends,con reps,and stars,we headed home. Thanks to Babelcon for giving us the chance to spend so many hours of personal time with my favorite Klingon!